Corporate Bond Market Liquidity Redux: More Price-Based Evidence
In a recent post, we presented some preliminary evidence suggesting that corporate bond market liquidity is ample. That evidence relied on bid-ask spread and price impact measures. The findings generated significant discussion, with some market participants wondering about the magnitudes of our estimates, their robustness, and whether such measures adequately capture recent changes in liquidity. In this post, we revisit these measures to more thoroughly document how they have varied over time and the importance of particular estimation approaches, trade size, trade frequency, and the ...
An index of Treasury Market liquidity: 1991-2017
Order book and transactions data from the U.S. Treasury securities market are used to calculate daily measures of bid-ask spreads, depth, and price impact for a twenty-six-year sample period (1991-2017). From these measures, a daily index of Treasury market liquidity is constructed, reflecting the fact that the varying measures capture different aspects of market liquidity. The liquidity index is then correlated with various metrics of funding liquidity, volatility, and macroeconomic conditions. The liquidity index points to poor liquidity during the 2007-09 financial crisis and around the ...
Has Liquidity Risk in the Treasury and Equity Markets Increased?
Market participants have argued that market liquidity has deteriorated since the financial crisis. However, inspection of common metrics such as bid-ask spreads, market depth, and price impact do not show pronounced reductions in liquidity compared with precrisis levels. In this post, we argue that recent changes in liquidity conditions may best be described in terms of heightened liquidity risk, as opposed to general declines in liquidity levels. We propose a measure that shows liquidity risk has risen in equity and Treasury markets and discuss some factors behind the increase.
Global variance term premia and intermediary risk appetite
Sellers of variance swaps earn time-varying risk premia for their exposure to realized variance, the level of variance swap rates, and the slope of the variance swap curve. To measure risk premia, we estimate a dynamic term structure model that decomposes variance swap rates into expected variances and term premia. Empirically, we document a strong global factor structure in variance term premia across the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Japan. We further show that variance term premia are negatively correlated with the risk appetite of hedge funds, broker-dealers, and mutual funds. Our results ...
Nonlinearity and flight to safety in the risk-return trade-off for stocks and bonds
We document a highly significant, strongly nonlinear dependence of stock and bond returns on past equity market volatility as measured by the VIX. We propose a new estimator for the shape of the nonlinear forecasting relationship that exploits additional variation in the cross section of returns. The nonlinearities are mirror images for stocks and bonds, revealing flight to safety: expected returns increase for stocks when volatility increases from moderate to high levels, while they decline for Treasury securities. These findings provide support for dynamic asset pricing theories where the ...
Option-implied term structures
This paper proposes a nonparametric sieve regression framework for pricing the term structure of option spanning portfolios. The framework delivers closed-form, nonparametric option pricing and hedging formulas through basis function expansions that grow with the sample size. Novel confidence intervals quantify term structure estimation uncertainty. The framework is applied to estimating the term structure of variance risk premia and finds that a short-run component dominates market excess return predictability. This finding is inconsistent with existing asset pricing models that seek to ...
Global price of risk and stabilization policies
We estimate a highly significant price of risk that forecasts global stock and bond returns as a nonlinear function of the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX). We show that countries? exposure to the global price of risk is related to macroeconomic risks as measured by output, credit, and inflation volatility, the magnitude of financial crises, and stock and bond market downside risk. Higher exposure to the global price of risk corresponds to both higher output volatility and higher output growth. We document that the transmission of the global price of risk to macroeconomic outcomes is mitigated by ...
What's Driving Dealer Balance Sheet Stagnation?
Securities brokers and dealers (?dealers?) engage in the business of trading securities on behalf of their customers and for their own account, and use their balance sheets primarily for trading operations, particularly for market making. Total financial assets of dealers in the United States have not shown any growth since 2009. This stagnation in their balance sheets raises the worry that dealers? market-making capacity could be constrained, adversely affecting market liquidity. In this post, we investigate the stagnation of dealer balance sheets, focusing particularly on the boom and bust ...
Has U.S. Treasury Market Liquidity Deteriorated?
The issue of financial market liquidity has received tremendous attention lately. This partly arises from market participants' concerns that regulatory and structural changes have reduced dealers' market making abilities, but also from events such as the taper tantrum and the flash rally, in which Treasury prices fluctuated sharply amid seemingly little news. But is there really evidence of a sustained reduction in Treasury market liquidity?
Redemption Risk of Bond Mutual Funds and Dealer Positioning
Market participants have recently voiced concerns that bond markets seem to become illiquid precisely when they want to sell bonds. Some possible reasons for a decline in corporate bond market liquidity in times of stress include the increasing share of corporate bond ownership by mutual funds and the reduced share of corporate bond ownership by dealers. In this post, we examine the potential effects of outflows from bond mutual funds and the role of dealers? positioning in corporate bonds.